Germs Infect Seniors’ Tech Devices – But Easy Prescription for the Cure

We love our technology gadgets, don’t we?

On a recent theater trip, I noticed everyone waiting had a smartphone in their hands, engaging with something on the screen to pass the time.

The overwhelming number of devices is just amazing. They have simply taken over our society.

Seniors are adopting their own devices, too, at rates that bring a song to our hearts. We are thrilled that they are using and enjoying technology.

They are starting to reap the benefits, with so much more to come.

But hold on…

We want them to use those smartphones and tablets, but safety is a priority. We shouldn’t just worry about security while using their devices, but also health.

Let’s talk about the infection of our devices by – – germs!

Dirtier Than the Toilet

A recent study of mobile phones found they held eighteen, yes 18, times more bacteria than the handle of the toilet in a men’s restroom.


Their analysis found that almost a quarter of the devices were so germy that they held ten times the acceptable level of bacteria. In fact, one phone tested had enough bacteria to cause stomach upset.

Researchers found staphylococcus aureus, enterobacteria, fecal coliforms and E. coli on the phones. These are not things we want anywhere near our senior loved ones, or us.

Obviously, bacteria from our hands is transferred to the phones and then back to us and could pose a health threat.

Another report found our computer keyboards held an unsafe amount of bacteria as well, so it’s not just the smartphone and tablet that should worry us.

Bacteria on Glass Screen

A Stanford University study found that pathogens on our glass surfaces, including glass on our computing devices, tablets and smartphones, can be readily transmitted to our skin.

They report that 30% of the viruses or germs on the glass will get on your fingertips when you touch or swipe the infected screen.

Germs live on surfaces and are spread in the air, especially when someone coughs or sneezes.

Germs can survive on glass for hours or even days.

Not only do we swipe the screen and touch to select apps or type on the qwerty keyboard, but we bring the phone directly to our mouth when we answer a call.

Sounds like something we should address, doesn’t it.

Disinfecting Our Gadgets To Prevent Autoinoculation

Since we realize that our smartphones, tablets and other computing devices can carry germs we would rather not spread to ourselves (this is called autoinoculation), we need to take some simple steps to keep our devices as germ free as possible.

  • Wash your hands! We hear it all the time but we need to constantly wash our hands before and after touching our faces, eating, using the bathroom, coughing and sneezing. If you touch many high traffic surfaces, such as stair rails, elevator buttons and escalator handrails, you probably need to wash when you go to and fro. Washing with soap and warm water using friction for about 10-15 seconds will help prevent the spread of germs. You can also use hand sanitizer or anti-bacterial wipes when your hands are not visibly soiled.
  • Use a germicidal wipe — not just a damp cloth or tissue — to clean your computer, tablet or mobile phone screen regularly.
  • You can also buy an ultraviolet sanitizer that will kill pathogens. You dock the phone or other devices in it. They claim to kill 99% of bacteria.
  • Don’t forget the computer keyboard too! Apple recommends Lysol Disinfecting Wipes for its products. Use a soft cloth or compressed air to blow out any debris lodged between the keys before you wipe. You can also use an electronics vacuum to remove debris from between the keys.
  • You may want to unplug your devices before you clean them. If they are hot, let them cool down a bit before wiping.
  • Be sure your wipes or cleaning products are alcohol free as the alcohol or ammonia can damage the screen. Don’t use household cleaners, sprays or solvents on the screens.
  • You can use a soft cloth made from microfiber used to clean eyeglasses to remove dust from your devices but will need the germicidal wipes to decrease the bacterial count.
  • There are also clear protective covers that fit over the entire device and keep it clean. They are disposable too. You may have seen them used in healthcare settings.
  • Other areas to clean – computer mouse, mousepad, carrying bag, desk where you compute, palm rest pads, ear buds, headset, and smart watches/wearables. While you’re at it, you may want to clean the TV remote control while you are busy with the tech gadgets!

New Product We Love

While we were at the International CES this year, we were introduced to a product called Whoosh!

Whoosh! is a screen cleaner that will work on any of your tech devices. The solution is applied with a soft cloth. It is non-toxic, odorless and 100% natural. It is safe for the environment and was never tested on animals.

You can find Whoosh! in stores or on their website. They have a store locator at to help you find it easily.

Your screens will be shiny and germ free when you are done!

One of the best features of this tech cleaning product is that is can help prevent future fingerprints on your devices with its special formula.

Benefits of Cleaning

Keeping technology devices and gadgets clean and germ free will not only help prevent spreading germs and getting sick, but will provide other benefits, too.

If senior loved ones let other people use their devices, including grandchildren, they will want to prevent spreading any germs to them and picking up the kids germs too. Let’s face it, we all have germs.

A little prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to keeping our tech devices germ free!